Sunday, August 30, 2015


The national convention of the National Model Railroad Association (NMRA) just concluded its 2015 edition in Portland, OR, August 23-30.  I have been aiming at supporting this convention and showing off my layout for it for the past three years.  This was THE BIG EVENT!!! 

When I began this blog and then actual layout construction, beginning August 1, 2012, I expected there would be another NMRA national convention in Portland sometime in my lifetime.  That probability became part of our lot selection criteria, as the formal layout tours for such events are conducted with 50 passenger tour buses.  We needed easy bus access and good street parking for such tours.  About two months after starting construction, I learned that Portland would, indeed, host another NMRA national, but that it was a scant three years in the future!  Yikes!!!  This was my one shot at presenting my layout and its design and operations ideas to a national audience.  As readers of this blog have seen, that led to very focused work and ultimate success—just in time.

I hosted three separate activities with the layout during the convention.  On Tuesday afternoon, we had the formal convention bus tours.  Two 50-passenger buses came by, filled out to capacity due to at least one of the other layouts on the tour.  My helping crew and I barely had time to grab a quick dinner before the second event.  Fifteen guys signed up for an operating session—the fourth using the full mainline.  Finally, Wednesday was the traditional day for the Layout Design Special Interest Group (LDSIG) layout tour.  As local LDSIG Convention Coordinator, I had arranged to have 17 layouts on the tour, including my own.  Following that, it was back to the convention in Portland.

The following photos represent the first set of photos from those activities.  Most of these images were shot with my camera by one of my helping crew.  A subsequent post will provide more coverage.  Meanwhile, this post marks my one hundredth post—a fitting way to reach that milestone.

Formal NMRA convention bus tour visitors arriving.

A poster and handout explained the layout concept.

Tour visitors roamed the aisles while my helping crew ran trains and answered questions.  I was stationed near the basement entrance, greeting visitors and answering questions.

The aisles could get a bit crowded, but the visitors were able to move around.

Stay tuned for a subsequent post covering the operating session.  Meanwhile, I will attempt to take a break from railroading following the intense effort to build and prepare the layout for all of this.  Three years from bare basement to functioning monster layout completely built by me, alone.  That construction effort was accompanied by doing the local coordinator work for the Layout Design and Operations Special Interest Groups.  Time for a rest!

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